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Week 16 Morning Aftermath: Bengals-Jets was obvious Week 17 flex choice

During last night’s Live Chat for Sunday Night Football Extra, I defended the decision to move the Bengals-Jets game to prime time in Week 17:  “The NFL and NBC made the
right call. (Says the guy typing on a Live Chat hosted at NFL.com and
NBCSports.com.)”

But even in the confines of PFT, where I have full control over all editorial content, I agree with that statement.

Sure, it won’t be a classic — especially if the Bengals decide to lay down for the Jets in the hopes of blocking the Steelers from a seat at the playoff table.  But there are only two games in Week 17 featuring clear, obvious win-and-in scenarios:  Bengals at Jets and Ravens at Raiders.

Throw in the fact that it’s the final game at Giants Stadium (unless the Jets secure the No. 5 seed and host the No. 6 seed for the AFC Championship) and the reality that New York is the top market in the country and the decision makes perfect sense.

Will there be potentially better games?  Sure.  Eagles-Cowboys could have a bye week on the line, and the NFC East title will definitely be up for grabs.  But both teams already are guaranteed to play again in the postseason.  Patriots-Texans presents Houston’s shot at a first-ever winning record for a full season — and an outside shot at the franchise’s first playoff appearance.

But the best-case scenarios for those games will be influenced by the outcomes of other games.  For a sure-fire playoff atmosphere (at least for one of the teams), only two games mattered — and one of the two makes far more sense than the other.

Especially if, as expected, the Black Hole will have more than a few empty seats.

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34 Responses to “Week 16 Morning Aftermath: Bengals-Jets was obvious Week 17 flex choice”
  1. leatherneck says: Dec 28, 2009 1:40 PM

    I agree. NBC made the right choice here. It is the only choice for the reasons Florio says.
    That said, will PFT ever criticize anything NBC does?

  2. esporter says: Dec 28, 2009 1:41 PM

    Yeah, I agree. I have seen enough NFC East games on prime time this year. Let’s get some new blood in there.

  3. birdmancometh says: Dec 28, 2009 1:44 PM

    I understand this, but I promise you both the Eagles and Cowboys will be trying to kick the sh!t out of each other. The Bengals, as stated in the article, may not play an inspired game.

  4. Tomthebombtracy says: Dec 28, 2009 1:49 PM

    Could be good news for teams needing Cincy to win. Would the attention starved Bengals (especially 85) and/or the NFL want a team to lay down on the national stage?

  5. bri81068 says: Dec 28, 2009 1:55 PM

    A reporter in Philly said that NBC desperately wanted the Eagles-Cowboys matchup, but that FOX complained enough to keep the game.

  6. Hap says: Dec 28, 2009 2:01 PM

    Throw in the fact that the Cowboys-Eagles game will bring the higher ratings, and that’s what TV’s in it for, and you’re disappointed with the decision. Period.
    The other game could get the late time slot and probably get ratings.
    Personally, I’m watching both at whatever time they’re on. How about the rest ofv the viewing public. They want The Eags at the Dallas Cowboys.

  7. JollyRoger says: Dec 28, 2009 2:07 PM

    “Sure, it won’t be a classic — especially if the Bengals decide to lay down for the Jets in the hopes of blocking the Steelers from a seat at the playoff table.”
    Yes, because the only reason the Bengals would “lay down” is to screw the Steelers. It’s not like they want to rest their starters or avoid injuries in what could be a meaningless game.
    Christ, Florio. People give you a lot of crap but sometimes you bring it on yourself with your obvious baiting.

  8. rydendonkeys says: Dec 28, 2009 2:07 PM

    This kills the Broncos giving the Bengals full knowledge of whether they have a chance at the 3 seed or not. This was the only real shot we had at making the playoffs.
    Rex Ryan 2 weeks ago – “Obviously this takes us out of the playoffs….unless the next two teams we play lay down and quit….”
    lol

  9. redsquare says: Dec 28, 2009 2:19 PM

    It’s a strange choice. Prime-time NBC is for the general audience, not just hardcore football nerds. So why feature two teams that most average people don’t care about, or know about? An also-ran AFC East team’s playoff bubble, or a possible 3 or 4 seed AFC division winner is not going to mean anything to the average viewer.
    Just look at the ratings for the Vikings-Packers games this year. Fiddly nuances of playoff positioning don’t inspire people. Drama does.
    And if there’s more drama in the NFL than that between the Cowboys and Eagles, I don’t know where it is. They’d have been better off moving Dallas-Washington out of prime time and winding up with a Dallas-Philly bash.
    Search your feelings, NBC–you know it to be true.

  10. Jag4Life says: Dec 28, 2009 2:27 PM

    Sorry to break the news, but enough of the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants. The teams are like Brett Farve, you see and hear waaaaaay too much of them already. No one outside of the NFC east fans cares about watching these team every Sun and Mon night. Enough already!!

  11. Tomthebombtracy says: Dec 28, 2009 2:38 PM

    ESPN did a nice job on its early morning stuff about the last game at the Meadowlands for the Giants. Probably not many got the Carolina-Giants game so we don’t know what Fox did. I see NBC doing a lot of magazine stuff about the last game there, encompassing the Giants and the Jets. Who knows, maybe Pele? And the concerts! They’ll make it interesting. The stuff on the closing of Shea and Yankee stadiums last year was really interesting.

  12. SDBoltsFan1 says: Dec 28, 2009 2:46 PM

    “This kills the Broncos giving the Bengals full knowledge of whether they have a chance at the 3 seed or not. This was the only real shot we had at making the playoffs.”
    Actually the Donkeys had one other way of getting into the playoffs – Not collapsing like a paper sack. They have only themselves to blame for missing the playoffs, should that come to pass.

  13. Raydahz says: Dec 28, 2009 3:11 PM

    I still think it’s a terrible choice. Nobody wants to see the Bengals back ups get rolled over by the Jets. It just makes for hideous, ugly, boring, why-am-I-even-watching-this? football.
    Did anybody continue to watch the Colts – Jets game after Manning and everyone else went out? No. Chances are, you changed that garbage. And now you think people are going to stick around and watch the Bengals’ backups? Ya, right.
    It’s a bad decision. That game will be over shortly after it starts. Ravens @ Raiders will be much more competitive. You would have had just as many teams from other markets tuning in to the game and hoping for a Raiders win so the idea that Bengals – Jets would draw more eyeballs is ridiculous.
    So instead of watching the Raiders and Ravens, 2 very physical teams battle it out, we get to watch the Bengals’ 2nd string go through the motions while the Jets get a playoff birth gift wrapped to them.
    Only in the NFL.

  14. bednarik60 says: Dec 28, 2009 3:12 PM

    I’m sure New York would watch the Eagles and Cowboys duke it out…
    Regardless, the Philly/Dallas game will be better and more intense. But it’s all about the money.

  15. leatherneck says: Dec 28, 2009 3:17 PM

    You know what has really killed the Broncos this year?
    Losing seven times.

  16. spanky2525 says: Dec 28, 2009 3:24 PM

    Hey Jag4Life, instead of saying the NFC east is on TV too much, why don’t you worry about the pitiful fan support in your own city, Jacksonville.
    FYI, if things keep going the way they are there, you won’t have an NFL team for long. Pitiful fan support and tickets sold there…..

  17. rydendonkeys says: Dec 28, 2009 3:34 PM

    no doubt sdDoltsfan1, we choked, again…
    McDaniels offensive “genius” was a fraud, it was with a top 5 QB and top 3 WR ALL TIME playing catch that made his offense to great.

  18. gweetarman says: Dec 28, 2009 4:08 PM

    As a Broncos fan, I’ve never been more frustrated in all my life. Obviously, the team played way over it’s head the first six games and you could say the coach helped with that. But then all of a sudden, Mcd started out coaching himself and the play calling became horrific. I’ve never seen a more conservative Denver offense in years. This is worse than the Griese/Plummer years! He won’t play Hillis and he’s as screen happy as I’ve ever seen. Screens work when you have a QB who stretches the field. How many times are we going to go Moreno right side for no gain on first down followed by a left side screen to Marshall for the 3 yards leading to a third and long situation which we can’t convert? Give me a break. We need interior O-line and a QB, and we need the coach to not be afraid of failure.

  19. BuckFigBen says: Dec 28, 2009 4:14 PM

    yeah, let’s all watch a team of backups play a team a team that is handed a playoff berth two weeks in a row. How great for the league.
    Sounds like the right choice…please.

  20. Iggles fan says: Dec 28, 2009 4:29 PM

    Eagles-Cowboys is going to be a brawl…..I was shocked that it wasn’t moved to the late spot…

  21. scizo says: Dec 28, 2009 4:36 PM

    Come on, what a joke. Who wants to watch the hapless Jets play the I can’t score points Cinci. This game looks like most of the barn burner games the NFL Network has televised this season. The game clearly should have been the Eagles/Cowboys. Poor choice by NBC on this one.

  22. scizo says: Dec 28, 2009 4:36 PM

    Come on, what a joke. Who wants to watch the hapless Jets play the I can’t score points Cinci. This game looks like most of the barn burner games the NFL Network has televised this season. The game clearly should have been the Eagles/Cowboys. Poor choice by NBC on this one.

  23. redsquare says: Dec 28, 2009 4:48 PM

    I agree that Raiders-Ravens sounds much more interesting, and I’m not a particular follower of either team. It’s an inherently more interesting matchup just for the storylines and playing styles of the teams.
    @Jag4Life, I hear what you’re saying (even as a Cowboys fan, I do), but look at the TV markets in that one division: Dallas, Philadelphia, D.C., and a little place named New York City. Add the people actually in those cities to all the people who have been connected to those places and those very old, established teams over the years, and you get a sizeable audience. A newer, smaller-market team like the Jags just can’t compete.
    Add the other x-factor of dramatic storylines–such as Favre–and teams without those big hooks, again like the Jags, can’t compete. It’s no slight against the Jags at all–the Cowboys have played some truly lousy nationally-televised games this year–rather a statement on the priorities of TV networks.

  24. Pack83 says: Dec 28, 2009 5:18 PM

    Wrong. If the Vikings stumble tonight or next week, the Eagles will be playing for the 2 seed no matter what. Add that to the fact that the Division is on the line, a home game in the playoffs, and the rivalry…I guess I just care a lot more about the Eagles getting a bye or losing the Division than whether or not the Jets get into the playoffs for the right to lose in Foxborough.
    It will do a horrible rating, and I completely believe the story that NBC wanted Boys/Eagles and something prevented it.

  25. craig309p says: Dec 28, 2009 6:24 PM

    The i cant score bengals won there division dummy so why show you cards if you may end up playing the same team again in the first week of the playoffs.So if you cant score how do you wina division?Cause all i hear is there d stinks somebody is doing something on that team right the y play time consuming football running the ball and let the d hold kinda like the ravens did a few years back when the won superbowl?they couldnt score either remember

  26. stevincinci says: Dec 28, 2009 6:25 PM

    Bengals are not going to lay down in this game. If the Jets win, there’s a chance bengals will play them the following week as well.

  27. sandy70 says: Dec 28, 2009 7:44 PM

    @craig309p–
    If you’re comparing the Bengals defense to what was arguably the greatest defense of all time in the 2000 Ravens, you must’ve started your New Year’s celebrating early.

  28. gallaghedj311 says: Dec 28, 2009 9:52 PM

    # Jag4Life says:
    No one outside of the NFC east fans cares about watching these team every Sun and Mon night. Enough already!!
    Get used to it friend. With an uncapped year on the horizon, no division is set to benefit more from no salary cap than the NFC East.

  29. ArticAndy says: Dec 28, 2009 10:04 PM

    This is professional football. You play to win the game.

  30. WhoPlaysWhere says: Dec 29, 2009 12:50 AM

    @Sandy70, the Bengals are not as flashy as the 2000 Ravens, but they show very similar tenancies in stopping the run and being stingy on 3rd down. Hard to compare the all star cast the Ravens had to the no names and rejects that have led the Bengals to the playoffs. One thing is for sure, Defense wins rings more than high powered offenses. Just ask the Colts and the Chargers!

  31. McBomb says: Dec 29, 2009 1:16 AM

    You guys misunderstand the main reason that this game was picked. This isn’t only playoff implications for the two teams involved. It has playoff implications for several teams. The idea is to get all of the fans of the Jets and Bengals to watch, all of the people who usually watch SNF anyway, and then ALSO pull in the the fans of ALL the teams who will be affected by this game playoff-wise.
    Since it seems that FOX protected the Eagles-Cowboys game and took it off the table, this does in fact seem like the wisest choice that could have been made for SNF.

  32. Chris Fiorentino says: Dec 29, 2009 7:35 AM

    Dumbest. Decision. Ever. If it is true that NBC was blocked, then they should somehow let it come out through the grapevine. Otherwise, when the ratings are horrible while the Eagles/Dallas game is an epic battle between two teams who hate each other fighting for playoff positioning, NBC won’t look like complete idiots.

  33. Chris Fiorentino says: Dec 29, 2009 7:37 AM

    I am adding this…think about it this way…if MInny loses at 1pm, which can happen considering how poorly they have been playing…and then the Pack beats AZ…this game would have been for a BYE…not just playoff position…a BYE. Stupid NBC. Stupid.

  34. sandy70 says: Dec 29, 2009 2:18 PM

    I thought the same pairing couldn’t be in prime time twice in the same season?
    If that’s the case, then the Eagles-Cowboys game was never really available to be flexed in the first place.
    Florio–care to be a journalist and, you know, do your job by shedding some light on this???????

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